UJ Geology

UJ Geology

UJ Geology, Geology is the study of the Earth: its origin and history, the rocks and materials of which it is composed, the changes that it has undergone or is experiencing, and the processes that cause these changes. [Medieval Latin geologia, the study of Earthly things: from Greek geo- + Greek -logia]​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Geologists study the Earth to better understand how the physical, chemical and biological components of the Earth interact as a system, to find and recover natural materials that may be useful to humans, and to predict how events and processes of the past may influence the future.

The field of Earth Sciences includes physical geology and geophysics; the history of the Earth and stratigraphy; geochemistry; palaeontology; mineralogy and petrology; and environmental, medical, engineering and mining geology.

Why study Geology at UJ?

Southern Africa has a rich geological heritage, with a unique set of diverse geological environments preserved; extraordinary mineral wealth, with some of the world’s largest ore deposits (e.g., gold, platinum, diamonds, chrome, manganese, iron ore, coal, uranium); and a remarkably comprehensive palaeontological record, from the oldest multicellular life to our early human ancestors.

The Department of Geology at UJ is one of the premier Earth Science departments in South Africa, and indeed, the African continent. Academic staff members have diverse backgrounds, with excellent national and international reputations. The UJ Department of Geology is centrally located with respect to the mineral and mining industry in southern Africa, with which it has close ties. UJ student graduates are equipped for many careers in diverse fields, and are sought-after in the international mining and minerals industries, research institutes, government and in environmental organisations. The UJ Department of Geology offers unique courses and research opportunities to potential students and post-doctoral researchers, including training and research in the geology and exploitation of ferrous mineral deposits, sedimentology of carbonate successions and associated base-metal deposits, coal geology and coal-bed methane, structural and metamorphic geology of orogenic provinces, geochemistry of igneous complexes and their associated ore deposits, and geological studies of southern Africa.

Undergraduate​ studies

The undergaduate degree programme in Geology is presented in the form of independent semester modules with “equal value”, which enables students to complete the modules in whatever order they choose, taking into account certain recommendations. This enables students from other fields of study to take specific modules in the UJ Department of Geology as supporting or enrichment courses.

Modules are grouped into core modules, which we consider essential for students who would like to become professional geologists and require an Honours Degree in Geology, and supporting or service modules, designed specifically for geology students. 

The modules are as follows:

1st year:
GLG1A10: Minerals, rocks and earth dynamics
GLG1A20: Introduction to geological field methods
GLG1B10: Optical and analytical mineralogy

2nd year:
GLG2A01: Igneous rocks
GLG2A02: Metamorphic rocks
GLG2A20: Geological field mapping methods
GLG2B10: Structural geology and plate tectonics
APG2A01: Applied geological maps and geospatial techniques
APG2B01: Applied engineering and environmental geology

3rd year:
GLG3A10: Sedimentology and stratigraphy
GLG3A20: Geological field mapping
GLG3B10: Historical geology
APG3A10: Mineral resource management and mineral exploitation
APG3B10: Economic geology

The Bachelor of Science Degree (BSc) in Geology and Applied Geology is a double geology major qualification that trains and equips graduates in both the applied aspects of geology as well as the classic theoretical modules taught in most BSc Geology programmes.

More information can be found in the Faculty Yearbook​​

Postgraduate studies

UJ offers BSc Honours, MSc and PhD degrees in Geology. Students require at least an Honours Degree in Geology to be able to register as a professional geologist.

Geology Honours

A maximum of 20 students per year are accepted into this course, on the basis of academic merit. Applications must be submitted by the end of October in the year prior to study.

The Geology Honours programme consists of 9 modules:

  • Sedimentary basin analysis and palaeontology
  • Tectonic evolution of mountain building areas
  • Geochemistry of igneous rocks
  • Chemical thermodynamics and metamorphic rocks
  • Applied and environmental mineralogy
  • Economic geology and exploration management
  • Advanced field mapping
  • Mining geology
  • Geology honours research project

Most of the modules include weekend excursions and practical fieldwork.

Masters and Doctoral studies

Masters and Doctoral degrees in Geology are by research dissertation. Applicants should approach a member of staff in the Department who specialises in their field of interest. For more information about the staff and their research programmes, consult the Departmental directory.

Contact Us

The main departmental office is located on the Auckland Park Kingsway (APK) campus:

Contact Details

Mrs Elaine Minaar

Tel: +27 (0)11 559 4701
Fax: +27 (0)11 559 4702
APK Campus: C1 Lab 402